Sweet potato leaves information. How to cook sweet potato greens. When to harvest a sweet potato leaf for best quality. What garden pest eats sweet potato vines?
Sweet potato greens are not only edible but quite tasty. What you want is the tender new leaves at the shoot tips. The older leaves may be stringy.
Pinch them off with your fingernails.
Unlike traditional southern greens (collards and kale ) they are mild tasting and cook quickly. Give the leaves a quick rinse and they will be ready to cook. You can chop them roughly and add them to soups or saute them in a little butter with salt.
The important thing to remember is not to take too many leaves from the
growing sweet potato plants.
The leaves feed the tubers. If you pick too many, you won't get the nice, fat tubers you want to use in your sweet potato recipes this fall.
If you are more interested in the leaves than the tubers, harvest as many as you like. Also, top dressing the sweet potato patch with chicken manure or any high nitrogen fertilizer will cause the plants to push top growth giving you even more yummy leaves.
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For a quick side dish, go out and gather a colander full of sweet potato greens--no tough stems just the tips of the vines.
Rinse the leaves and chop them up a bit. Saute them in a large skillet in hot olive oil. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper as you stir them around. Add a little bit of garlic powder if you like.
When the greens wilt they are ready to eat.
Another way to use sweet potato greens in the kitchen is to chiffonade them like you would basil leaves.
Add the thinly sliced leaves to soups and stew recipes that call for fresh greens. This is a good way to add sweet potato nutrition to a dish. Add the greens toward the end of the cooking time in order to avoid overcooking them.
In some Asian countries sweet potato leaf is steeped in hot water and drunk as an herbal tea.
Other than humans, deer are one of the biggest fans of sweet potato greens. They have been known to eat them right down to the ground.
Rabbits will eat the tender leaves but leave the stalks.
Try sprinkling the leaves with cayenne pepper powder or use a commercial deer repellent that is safe for food crops.